Vendetta Red

Sisters of the Red Death

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Banshees, serenades, silhouettes; the body and the blood. Vendetta Red's sophomore major-label effort really amplifies the grandiosity, dropping lines like "My bold bulimic belly dancer/Narcissistic necromancer" over the churning guitars and sporting a thematic framework that has something to do with cults and gorgons. But Sisters of the Red Death is really about Vendetta trying to find Radiohead inside My Chemical Romance's anxious racket. Zach Davidson does an uncanny channeling of Thom Yorke on "Shiver," "Run," and "Great Castration," and the songs shift abruptly from meandering lilts and treated elements into tense, screechy guitar climaxes, fits of metal-derived chording, and choruses that stick like pins. In other words, it's three cheers for sweet paranoid androids. Of course, amid its ambition and scraping for a broader sound, the band can still light into Between the Never and the Now-style Weezer approximations. "Vendetta Red Cried Rape on Their Date with Destiny" is suggestive of that album's "Shatterday" with its surging chorus (not to mention Fall Out Boy with that lengthy, self-referential title), and "Banshee Ballet" is a martial pop-emo rush. It's possible Vendetta Red's getting too epic too soon. Parts of Sisters of the Red Death feel too calculated or needlessly wordy, and the band occasionally gets lost inside the ultra-slick production. But it's still a promising step. Grandly ambitious is better than standing pat with simple songs to pogo to.

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